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New York City’s Fair Chance Act

In 2015, the New York City Commission on Human Rights enacted the Fair Chance Act that would prohibit employers from asking potential applicants if they have been convicted of a crime until after the employer has issued a conditional offer to the applicant. NY passed this law to ensure that job applicants were evaluated on their merits and not be barred due to their criminal history.


When To Consider An Applicant’s Criminal History

As a result of the foregoing, employers may no longer place job advertisements containing the statements like, “no felonies” or “must pass background check”. Moreover, employers can neither inquire about criminal history on job applications nor ask any questions about criminal history during job interviews. However, once the employer makes the conditional job offer, it may inquire about the applicant’s conviction history.

If after reviewing an applicant’s conviction history the employer decides to withdraw its offer of employment, the employer must provide the applicant with a written explanation that connects the criminal history to the job duties and explain how it creates an unreasonable risk. Furthermore, the employer must hold the job open for the applicant for three days in order to allow the applicant to discuss the issue and address any incorrect information. To help employers in these situations, the New York City Commission on Human Rights has provided this Fair Chance Notice to send to the applicant.


Understanding how this affects the small business economy is part of our job here at Santomassimo Davis LLP, as we primarily focus in providing expert Outside General Counsel for a variety of law firms and legal issues related to Corporate and Business Law in New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania.

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